AMD Details Ryzen Mobile, Threadripper, Radeon Vega, and Epyc at Computex 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Threadripper will launch in summer 2017 with multiple SKUs
  • Ryzen Mobile laptops will launch before the end of the year
  • Radeon Vega graphics cards will be released by the end of July

At a press conference on the sidelines of the annual Computex trade show in Taipei, AMD made a number of announcements covering products across its portfolio, including the Epyc platform for servers, Ryzen desktop and mobile CPUs, Threadripper enthusiast CPUs, and Radeon Vega graphics processors. However, specific details were light, and none of the upcoming products were demonstrated hands on.

AMD Details Ryzen Mobile, Threadripper, Radeon Vega, and Epyc at Computex 2017

AMD President and CEO Lisa Su welcomed top executives from Dell, Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo on stage to show off desktop and laptop systems based on AMD Ryzen CPUs and Radeon graphics cards, all of which are being launched at Computex. All desktop Ryzen processors, including the upcoming budget-oriented Ryzen 3 lineup, have been certified as Oculus VR ready. A working sample of a sub-15mm thin 2-in-1 with a Ryzen Mobile processor was shown on stage.

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Derek Yu, Global Marketing Director of Asus’ ROG gaming division introduced the ROG Strix GL702ZC laptop using a Ryzen Mobile processor, described as the world’s first 8-core gaming laptop. No price, launch date or specifications were disclosed, expect for the fact that the device is certified VR ready, and has a Ryzen 7 CPU, Radeon RX 580 GPU, and FreeSync-capable screen. Yu also stated that the ROG Strix GL702ZC delivers the highest ever performance for a consumer laptop in multi-threaded benchmarks. Ryzen Mobile laptops for consumers are expected to launch before the end of 2017, while models for corporate and enterprise customers will come out in the first half of 2018.

AMD also announced that its upcoming 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen Threadripper CPU will launch in “summer 2017”. Multiple versions will be available, some with fewer cores, but all of them will use the same X399 motherboard platform and server-based TR4 socket. All CPUs will also be able to address up to 2TB of DDR4 RAM in quad-channel mode, and have access to 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes for high-speed peripherals, such as four graphics cards. X399 motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock are already in development and will be ready for the launch. A Threadripper CPU was also shown to the public for the first time at the event.

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On the graphics side, AMD’s Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics card for AI and deep learning applications will be made available on June 27, while consumer gaming graphics cards based on the same Vega architecture will be launched at the Siggraph conference near the end of July.

Finally, AMD announced that its Epyc server CPUs will be available in single- and dual-socket configurations beginning from June 20. Partners were not named, but Su stated that the company expects wide industry support.

Laptops based on Ryzen Mobile will be launched before the end of the year, the company said.

Google Withholds Gender Pay Details

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google refused to disclose the gender pay disparities
  • 69% of the company’s global employees are male and 31% females
  • But it’s unclear how much women employees are paid relative to the men

For the second year in a row, shareholders of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, voted down a proposal asking the tech giant to publish a report on possible pay disparities between its male and female employees. The vote comes at a time when the company is grappling with a federal lawsuit tied to this very issue and as the tech industry faces heightened scrutiny over gender pay, a lack of diversity, and dysfunctional work environments.

Under the proposal, the company would measure and disclose how much its female employees make as a percentage of their male counterparts. The plan, put forward by Arjuna Capital, an investment firm, and other co-filers also called for the company to design a policy to tackle any gender pay disparity.

Google Withholds Gender Pay Details

“Gender pay disparity is not only one of the biggest social justice issues of our time, it poses a risk to companies’ performance, brand, and investor returns,” said Natasha Lamb, Arjuna’s director of shareholder engagement, at the shareholder meeting. “This issue is particularly salient to the technology industry, which struggles to attract, retain, and move women into positions of leadership,” she said.

The board of directors told shareholders that approving the proposal would not be in the best interest of the company or its investors, according to Alphabet’s 2017 statement to stockholders. Management pointed to Google’s existing diversity reports and internal evaluations as sufficient measures to ensure pay equity among its staff. “Our board of directors does not believe that the proposal would enhance Alphabet’s existing commitment to fostering a fair and inclusive culture,” read the statement.

Like many of its peers in the tech industry, Google produces an annual report outlining the gender and ethnic makeup of its employees. A vast majority of Alphabet’s employees work for Google. But the report doesn’t outline gender pay disparities. Sixty-nine percent of the company’s global employees are male and 31 percent are female, according to Google’ 2016 diversity report, which captured data from the year prior. But it’s unclear how much women employees are paid relative to the men.

Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have each reported on their gender pay disparity, with each company claiming a discrepancy near zero. Lamb described Alphabet as a laggard, compared to its peers, when it comes to transparency over gender pay.

Alphabet declined to comment.

 

Arjuna Capital’s push for Alphabet to release its gender pay information is part of a broader campaign to address enduring gender discrimination in the American workplace. Within Silicon Valley, which generally views itself as a meritocracy, calls for improving diversity have only grown louder as yearly employment reports continue to show leadership teams being dominated by men.

The calls also come as accounts of workplace harassment continue to surface. In February, former Uber employee Susan Fowler published a blog post alleging episodes of sexual harassment that she said took place while she worked as an engineer at the company. Since her writing, Uber initiated several internal investigations to examine what Fowler and others described as a toxic work culture. But Uber’s sexual harassment controversy is viewed by some not as an outlier, but just the latest, prominent example of women facing discrimination at work in Silicon Valley.

The Mountain View, California, company is currently facing a lawsuit from the Labor Department related to unfair gender pay. The Labor Department filed the lawsuit against Google in January after the company refused to turn over compensation data as part of a “routine compliance evaluation,” according to a Labor Department statement released in the same month. Labor Department lawyers have accused Alphabet of underpaying women, finding evidence of “extreme” gender pay discrimination. Google has denied those accusations. In a hearing last month, Alphabet said that it couldn’t turn over internal wage data that the department requested because that would cost too much – $100,000 (roughly Rs. 64 lakhs) – and require hundreds of hours of work, according to the Guardian.

Alphabet is the third major tech company since 2016 to fall under Labor Department scrutiny. Palantir was accused of discriminating against Asian job applicants, and Oracle was sued for engaging in pay discrimination against women employees, as well as Asian and black workers, according to the Guardian.

At the -shareholder meeting, Lamb also presented a shareholder proposal for Google to analyse its role in the spread of misleading and fabricated news stories, so-called fake news. With management’s blessing, that proposal failed.

Another plan presented by NorthStars Asset Management would have given stockholders equal voting power.

That was defeated as well.